This article was written by Brian McCowan, ERS, on April 1, 2020.
New Hampshire history buff repurposes Trebuchets for peak load shaving energy storage
Florent “Fritzy” Fritterman was hurling pumpkins at the reproduction castles he had built when he was struck by an idea. “I had read on Zondits,” said Fritterman, “about the growing need to store energy for peak periods. So; I’m hurling pumpkins with one of my Counterpoise Trebuchets, which is the perfect example of converting potential energy into kinetic energy, and the proverbial light bulb goes off.”
The amateur historian went back to his workshop and pulled together the components for harnessing the power of the Trebuchet. He connected the swing arm of the Trebuchet to a cable that was then wrapped around the pulley on a generator that had been connected to a three-point hitch and power takeoff on his John Deere tractor. “Instead of smashing pumpkins I put hard rocks in the business end and let ‘er rip.” The cable spins the generator producing power. “This generator is not very efficient,” Fritterman admits, “but it could be connected to an electrically commutated brushless generator, or alternator, similar to those used in efficient wind-power machines. For years people laughed at my Trebuchet obsession, but who’s laughing now?”